With 10 months remaining in his presidency, Noynoy Aquino has promised to build more than 84,000 classrooms needed to accommodate the public school students.
Of course, Noynoy gets an additional one month as a sitting duck in Malacañang until the next President is sworn into office.
Apparently, the President was told by Education Secretary Armin Luistro that his administration has in the last five years failed to build the needed classrooms.
They must know how agonizing it is for the 23 million elementary and high school students to squeeze in crowded classrooms and yet the Noynoy administration decided to require them to attend two more years of basic education.
In order to alleviate the miserable classroom situation, the government must build an average of 250 classrooms every day until Noynoy actually gets the hell out of the Palace.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto last weekend noted the “awesome but challenging target of building the most number of classrooms in the shortest time.”
I see Sen. Recto has a way of sugar coating a deficiency or a failure of the government despite appropriating the biggest slice of the budget to public education.
Of course, nagpapa-pogi lang si Recto who is a loyal ally of Noynoy.
For 2016, the budget for new classrooms is pegged at P61.8 billion, as DepEd’s budget balloons by 15 percent, from P378 billion this year to P436 billion.
The DepEd identifies the sites where the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) builds the classrooms and other facilities.
That is just for brand-new classrooms not including classrooms for repair and new technical-vocational workshops.
The truth is many DepEd classroom construction projects have been delayed.
Of some 42,000 new classrooms programmed for 2015, not one has been built as of July 1, 2015.
And the backlog stretches back to the 2014 deliverables, with 7,000 classrooms unfinished as of May 2015, out of more than 43,000 supposed to be built that year.
Noynoy’s administration is playing catch-up in planning to build 43,000 classrooms next year, in addition to the 41,000 classrooms already funded for 2015 thus the two-year goal of 84,000.
Needless to say, DepEd and DPWH must agree on a plan on how to avoid delayed classroom building projects.
“It would be better if they will all be completed by June 30, 2016 President Aquino’s last day in office,” Recto said.
That’s one hell of wishful thinking.
Instead of sweet lemons, the senator should call for an inquiry and uncover the massive irregularities at DepEd and DPWH in connection with classroom construction projects!
Look, some 132,000 families remain homeless and live in tents in Tacloban City and other areas two years after being devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.
Noynoy reportedly has yet to approve the release of P54 billion for housing resettlement, according to former national treasurer Leonor Magtolis Briones.
De Lima, Tolentino best senatorial bets of LP?
Though the Liberal Party has announced Mar Roxas as its standard bearer in next year’s presidential race, it has yet to name its vice presidential and senatorial candidates.
And because of the administration’s lousy performance in governance and public service during the past five years, experts believe the ruling party will have a poor showing in next year’s election unless it will field familiar and trusted candidates particularly in the Senate race.
Analysts suggest that the likes of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Metro Manila Chairman Francis Tolentino would be the best candidates of the administration for senator.
They say De Lima’s no nonsense actions, such as the filing of graft cases against certain lawmakers and officials, going after smugglers, and cleaning the New Bilibid Prison of VIP inmates shows her “strong will to make things happen.”
Tolentino’s presence in every flood and disaster not only in Metro Manila but in other parts of the country demonstrates his desire to help calamity victims, experts say.
If these experts are right, I guess the LP will only have to look for ten more winnable candidates for its senatorial slate?